Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Calling All Thrill Seekers: Microgravity Experience? 02.24.12

For those that enjoy riding roller coasters, it is a very big deal to find the biggest, fastest, and most exciting ride possible. What if you had the opportunity, even for just a few seconds, to ride a roller coaster that would give the same sensation as floating in outer space’s microgravity? We have to wonder if even those with sensitive stomachs would pass up an opportunity like that.
The idea comes from BRC Imagination Arts, a design firm in Southern California. They are putting together plans for one of the most sophisticated roller coasters in the world. The term “roller coaster” is a gross understatement for this monster, however. Because of the extremely precise calculations needed to give the maximum sensation, the ride will be meticulous enough to weigh and recalibrate the controls for every single flight of its passengers, even as the ride is in progress.
The ride is expected to give its passengers the feeling of one-g, zero-g, and then double Earth’s gravity through the duration of the trip. The microgravity sensation would be for about 8 seconds at the top, which, BRC claims, will feel like an eternity in the enclosed space of the ride.
What is more, the ride has researchers excited because it could offer a much cheaper alternative for testing experiments in zero gravity. NASA’s current “Vomit Comet,” the KC-135A aircraft used to simulate zero gravity for astronauts in training, is a very costly trip to take. When the zero gravity contraption is built, though, even grade school students can run experiments while they ride the coaster. Who says science cannot be fun, too?
Information credit: SPACE.com.

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